Assessing India's Green Revolution

How Ecosystems Contribute to Human Well-being

Our Partnership

India's Green Revolution saw the country convert their agricultural system into an industrial one, primarily through the adoption of modern methods and technologies. DU's Paul C. Sutton, in collaboration with researchers from Texas A & M University and a variety of other academic partners, investigated the effects of the Green Revolution on the ecological processes that support human well-being and subsistence. We believe the research and ingenuity produced through collaborations like this are essential as we work to better protect the natural world around us.

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About the Project

In addition to expanding cultivation and crop land, the Green Revolution saw Indian farmers begin to more heavily use technologies like tractors, irrigation facilities, pesticides and fertilizers. The goal of this project was to explore the effect of those technologies on local ecosystem services, the natural processes that are essential for human well-being, subsistence and livelihood.

To assess the impact of these technologies, researchers estimated the value of these ecosystem services over 20 years in eight different eco-regions in India. Using factors like crop area, production, yield and cropping intensity, they then attempted to determine the effects and value of ecosystem services. 

Ecosystem services contributed the greatest degree of value through water regulation, but also were crucial contributors to soil formation, biodiversity maintenance, waste treatment, climate regulation and more. The study recommends vigorous ecosystem management in order to preserve ecological integrity to protect both natural ecosystems and human well-being.

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Paul Sutton

Paul Sutton

Paul Sutton is a professor in the Department of Geography & the Environment with the University of Denver's College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. His research uses mapping technologies to explore issues of sustainability, ecological economics and population geography. Much of his research uses nighttime satellite imagery for mapping and measuring population distribution, economic activity, anthropogenic impact on the environment and urban sprawl. He also explores the mapping and valuation of ecosystem services.

Sutton serves on expert panels and working groups including the European Commission’s Human Planet Initiative, The Economics of Land Degradation Initiative and the UN’s Global Environmental Outlook (GEO 6) . He also works as an editor for several academic journals including Sustainability, Ecological Economics and Statistics and Expresion Economica Revista